Whatever your enterprise desktop issue VDI is often hailed as the answer. The next generation desktop will be virtual. Mind, while it’s not possible to say that no one got fired for recommending VDI, taking the compute power away from the end-device and putting it back in the data centre has been a task that has struggled to gain wide adoption.
For all the benefits of improved security and reliability in Internet Explorer (IE) 8, many business still have a critical need to support IE6. IE6 may well be over 10 years old, it may well be two versions behind the most current release; the fact remains many businesses still have critical applications that rely on IE6’s cumbersome standards implementation and more relaxed security requirements.
In a previous article, Running Internet Explorer Beyond Windows XP I suggested that Microsoft reconsider its policy on supporting IE as a virtualized application. And Microsoft did reconsider. Go me. But, rather than allow it, Microsoft have actively sought to prevent IE virtualization: stopping one application virtualization company from promoting their offer of delivering virtualised versions of IE from their website and restating their support options for virtualised IE.
What will the impact be to your business you if you need to continue to support IE6 on Windows Vista or Windows 7. Are Microsoft’s recommended solutions the only option now? Is it possible to have a seamless, simple, fast and importantly low cost solution to allow users gain the benefits of the latest IE release while maintaining access to legacy web applications?
Browsers are the user workspace of the future. The issue with “traditional” applications are many and complex covering topics like deployment, updates, security and management. If you can move all of that headache to a centralized service and have users access that by firing up their device’s web browser then your troubles will be over. But an issue with web-based applications is, as with any application, the capabilities of the service grow to accommodate new functions and additional requirements. Applications may move to be hosted in “the cloud”, but there is will always be a need to ensure that the end device has an environment to run that web service in a secure, consistent and productive way. Browsers may well be the workspace of the future – but that future will still browsers to be updated, managed and maintained.
It is likely your business is moving to a post Windows XP environment. Perhaps you are updating traditional desktops or migrating to virtual desktop environment on Windows 7, or even a presentation virtualization environment based on Windows 2008 R2. Moving operating systems, means moving browser version. Microsoft would say this is a “Good Thing” – as they consider Internet Explorer (IE) 8 to be their best browser yet although to be fair, they’re hardly likely to say IE8 is bloated and overly complex.
There are still a good number of companies who have found that they cannot standardize on one browser for all users en masse without impacting on business functions. One application, or even a critical component of one application may not work if the browser for IE8 or IE7. At the same time, as users become more web aware, there is the demand of users to have more than just one browser available.
Can you support multiple browsers in your environment? How can you run IE6 in a Windows 7 or Windows 2008 environment? Will moving to a VDI infrastructure allow you to look back while moving forward and indeed, is the lack of support for different browsers – specifically different versions of IE – simply a temporary issue, resolved by focusing on changing the web delivery services so that they support the most recent browser? Ultimately, is one browser enough?
Is Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) simply a Band-Aid? That is to say, not really a long term solution but a cover-up until it is “all better”? Is Med-V only a ‘point solution’ to ease migration or can you use that functionality to a wider audience to solve other problems?
Despite Redmond hailing Windows 7’s success, surveys have shown that Windows XP is still more than alive and kicking. A barrier for migration from Windows XP, is the “unknown risk” (and of course risk=cost) of not being able to run business critical applications in “the new environment”. MED-V, part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), allows migration from an old Microsoft operating environment to a new Microsoft OS while allowing access to ‘legacy’ applications. At the same time, MED-V gives your company the facility to manage both the ‘new’ and the ‘old’ operating systems and provide users with an integrated environment – merging legacy applications into the new workspace.
Here at TVP we believe in the maxim, “its not just how do you do it, but how do you manage it once its done“. What does MED-V offer over and above, say, Windows Virtual PC – or other non-Microsoft Client Side Hypervisors? Can MED-V help you to migrate onwards and upwards more quickly? What would the benefits of implementing it be? Is “migration” MED-V’s only function or are there additional uses? Is it cost effective? What are the alternatives?